Hocker, Price announce candidacies in November elections

Familiar faces could continue representing the area if Gerald Hocker and Shirley Price are successful in their recently announced ventures. Hocker, who currently serves as representative of the state’s 38th District, recently announced he intends to run for the 20th District senate seat being vacated by retiring state Sen. George H. Bunting in November. Price, who has been working as a real estate agent in recent years, has stepped forward to say she will run for the 38th District House of Representatives seat she previously held.

Hocker opened a recent “Old Fashioned Covered Dish Supper and Straw Poll” organized by 38th District Republicans at the Roxana Fire Hall by announcing his intention to run for the Senate seat being vacated by Bunting. In doing so, he spoke of the work they have done together in representing the people of the 38th District and encouraged a candidate to come forward to run for the 38th District seat who could continue that work.

“I have given a lot of thought and had a lot of encouragement from both parties to run for Sen. Bunting’s seat after his retirement,” explained Hocker. “And that is my intention, at this point. But my main intention is having someone file for my seat that I can work with and I can be as much help to as I was to Sen. Bunting and he was to me. It works for the better of the district.”

Because of redistricting, Hocker noted, the 38th District will be reduced in size by about 4,000 voters, because the towns of Selbyville and Dewey Beach will no longer be a part of the district.

“This way,” Hocker said of his candidacy, “if I am fortunate enough to become senator, I can continue serving them. Except for those in Dewey Beach,” he added, as that town is now part of the new 6th Senatorial District, which stretches from northeast of Georgetown to Milford to Lewes to Dewey Beach, and the Rehoboth-centered 14th Representative District, where the current representative is Democrat and House Majority Leader Pete Schwartzkopf. Selbyville is now part of the 41st Representative District, currently represented by Democrat John Atkins, the one-time Republican.

Both Hocker and Price are natives of Sussex County and have been in public service for some time. Hocker is currently serving his fourth term in office. Price served in the same seat from 1996 to 2002.

“It’s time to get back to serving the people of Sussex County in a bigger way,” said Price this week. “With Rep. Hocker running for Senator Bunting’s [seat], it creates an open seat, and public service is a big part of my life.”

Price is currently a member of the board of directors for CHEER, and she said more services and funding for senior services are a priority for her.

“I see that we really need to push for more funding of services for seniors, because that population is growing so rapidly.” She said the fact that the inland bays are still impaired, as well as economic issues and jobs, are her other priorities.

“There are lots of things I can be a voice for and help with. I know the area and I know the issues and I know the people.”

She said her time as a Realtor has helped her meet a lot of the newer Sussex County residents, as well.